Planning a wedding can be stressful and expensive. Not to mention that there are a lot of unexpected wedding costs that couples end up with sticker shock over! Today, we’re going to go over some of these unexpected wedding costs that you may find while wedding planning.
Unexpected Wedding Costs
Here are 34 unexpected wedding costs that you will definitely want to be prepared for when planning your wedding budget!
1. Bridesmaid proposals
You might not think that asking someone to be in your wedding would be included in unexpected wedding costs. But most brides don’t want to “pop the question” to their bridal party over text or a phone call. In fact, most of them don’t even want to ask them on a regular girl’s night!
Brides nowadays tend to create a bridesmaid proposal box, or include some sort of gift when they ask their girls to be a bridesmaid. Some even choose to take them out to a nice lunch or dinner.
Obviously, these costs add up! Keep that in mind when you’re deciding how to ask them, especially if you’ll be having a large bridal party.
2. Vendor meals
Don’t forget to feed your vendors! Many of them will be with you most of the day and will need a meal. So, they need to be included in your catering count. This includes photographers, planners, and musicians.
3. Beauty treatments
Of course, brides plan for the cost of hair & make-up. But what about any additional beauty treatments that you’ll be looking to get done before your wedding day? This could include a mani-pedi, a massage, or a spray tan.
Or, maybe you’re looking to get some facial treatments before the big day. Make sure to add these into your beauty budget!
4. Trial hair & make-up
You’ll want to have a trial run of your hair and makeup before your wedding day. In fact, you might end up having multiple trial runs!
Some stylists will include a free trial into their contract, but many do not. You’ll want to factor this into your hair & makeup budget.
A trial is crucial to ensuring that you’ll be able to achieve what you’re looking to get done! Nothing will be worse than getting your hair or makeup done the morning of your wedding and finding out that the look you envisioned doesn’t work well for you.
5. Bachelorette party
A bachelorette party is hardly an unexpected wedding cost, considering the fact that you plan it months ahead of time. But, are you prepared for just how much that bachelorette party is going to cost? Many bachelorette parties are weekend getaways nowadays.
Sure, the price technically falls on the maid of honor/bridal party. However, many brides end up paying for airfare or part of the hotel bill. This is usually to help the girls alleviate the cost of a trip. And brides especially want to help with the cost if she is the one set on an overnight trip!
Are you trying to save some money on your bachelorette, but still want a weekend getaway? Look close to home to avoid travel costs! If you’re local to us here in Maryland, then you’re definitely in luck.
There are a lot of local spots that would be excellent weekend getaways within driving distance! This includes Ocean City, National Harbor, Jersey Shore beaches, Deep Creek, and more. The possibilities are really endless! Plus, there are plenty of rental houses that may end up being less expensive than a hotel room.
6. Guest transportation
While the bride and groom aren’t traditionally responsible for how guests get to/from your wedding, it’s becoming more common. This is especially true if there’s a lack of parking at your venue, and if you have a lot of out-of-town guests.
Plus, you don’t want to have to worry about intoxicated guests getting home. You may end up paying the taxi fare for these individuals.
7. Marriage license
Yes, unfortunately a marriage license costs money. And it’s required to make the marriage legal!
Depending on where you get married, they typically cost between $20 and $100. And, in most states, you won’t automatically get a copy of the license after filing. You have to pay for that, too.
If you’re having a destination wedding, you may need to fly in a few days before the wedding or even end up making a second trip for the marriage license specifically. This will mean extra travel fees that you’ll need to budget for.
Are you choosing to keep your wedding kids-free? Nothing wrong with that! But, you might find yourself needing to pay for childcare. A lot of parents don’t think that they should be responsible for finding childcare because of your decision to make it kids-free. The decision is totally yours, but some brides end up paying for childcare to alleviate the burden off of the parents.
On the other hand, if you are allowing children at the wedding, you may want to pay for childcare at the venue. This will allow parents to enjoy the wedding without having to watch their children all night. Again, totally up to you, but this is something to think about!
9. Day-of stationery
Most brides think about save-the-dates and invitations when budgeting for stationery. But, many forget about the day-of stationery! This could include programs, escort cards, menus, place cards, etc. These will all need to be bought, too, and included in the overall budget.
10. Additional staff
Your original catering quote will likely include what they call “minimal staffing.” However, you might be looking for better service — say, one waitperson per table, or additional bartenders due to a larger guest count.
Postage for your wedding invitations can really add up if you’re not careful! Depending on the weight of your invitations, you may need additional postage. You will also need additional postage for invitations that are an “unusual” shape, like square.
You may also choose to include stamps on the inner envelope for guests to send back their reply cards, which will be an additional expense.
No matter what wedding dress you buy, you will end up needing alterations (unless you’re extremely lucky)! Whether it’s a simple hem fix, a take-in (or take-out), or adding customizations (like sleeves), alterations should be factored into your dress budget!
13. Hotel room
Don’t forget to budget for a hotel room for the wedding night, especially if that’s where you plan to get ready! You may end up needing to book the room for two nights to give yourself enough time. Many hotels won’t allow you to check in early in the morning, so you’ll need to book it for the night before, too.
14. Vendor tips
Gratuities for your vendor can be tricky to figure out. Many say that you don’t need to tip vendors who own their own business… but it can be a nice gesture, anyway! For the most part, you’ll want to tip the officiant, servers, bartenders, hair stylists, makeup artists, limo drivers, the cake delivery team, and coat check attendants.
Certain vendors, like your venue or caterer, will include gratuities in the contract, So make sure to double check before planning out your tips!
15. Last-minute forgotten items
If you’re not getting ready at your home, there could be last-minute forgotten items that you’ll need to buy. For example, did the groom forget to pack his dress shoes for your destination wedding? Unfortunately, you’ll need to buy new ones.
These aren’t necessarily expenses that you can plan for, but do keep in mind that things like this could happen!
16. Liability insurance
Some venues require you to purchase event liability insurance. Basically, his covers the venue in case guests or vendors break anything.
You should budget between $100 and $500 for this. It all depends on how much coverage you need!
Any bridal accessories can really add up, depending on what you want. Shoes alone can be a few hundred dollars if you’re really going all-out!
You’ll want to budget for things such as shoes, a veil, jewelry, and undergarments/shapewear. You may choose to factor these into your dress budget, or create a separate category for this!
18. Additional time at venue
Keep in mind that most venues will charge you for any time spent there outside of the contracted hours! Plus, you’ll end up having to pay your other vendors for the additional time.
Whether you decide to do this last-minute in the heat of the moment or plan this with your vendors ahead of time, it will likely cost you extra!
19. Pre-wedding party attire
There are so many pre-wedding parties that you might have, including an engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party, and even a day-after brunch.
Brides tend to want a new dress or outfit for every occasion. This is perfectly fine, but keep in mind that all of those will add up! If you’re looking to cut costs, you can wear dresses that you already own… not everything has to be a white dress! Or, there’s nothing wrong with wearing the same dress/outfit to multiple of these occasions.
20. Cake-cutting fee
Many brides are surprised to find that there a cake-cutting fee. Most vendors will charge a fee per slice. So, if you have 100 guests, and there is a $1 fee per cut slice, you will end up owing an additional $100 just for the cake cutting. Keep this in mind when budgeting for dessert!
21. Unexpected guests
While showing up to a wedding uninvited or unannounced is just plain rude, it does happen. Whether it’s someone who brings an uninvited plus one, someone who RSVP’d no but shows up anyway, or someone who is upset about not receiving an invitation, it’s a good idea to plan for this. Plan for a few extra seats and meals just in case!
22. Post-wedding expenses
Unfortunately, the expenses don’t stop as soon as you leave the reception. There are some post-wedding expenses that you’ll need to keep in mind! These could include thank-you cards (if you didn’t purchase them in advance), gown cleaning & preservation (tip: purchase our package when you buy your dress so that you don’t have to worry about it later!), and photo prints or photo albums.
23. Welcome bags
Welcome bags are definitely not necessary, but can be a nice gesture if you have a large amount of out-of-town guests attending.
What should you include in a welcome bag? It’s really up to you, but they could include a handwritten welcome note, schedule of events, brochures with local sights to see, a city map, snacks/drinks, bottled water, disposable cameras, and more!
24. Sales tax & service charges
Be sure to look over all of your contracts to see if sales tax is included! If not, your final bill may end up being higher than you expected.
Additionally, you’l see “service charges” in some contracts. These are not the same as gratuities, as they are not given to tipped employees.
For catering, see if your quote/bill includes a “plus plus.” For example, “$98 per person ++.” This would mean that you need to add service and tax.
You may decide to give gifts to wedding party members, siblings, parents, and more. This is completely at your discretion, but is important to include in your overall budget if you decide to do so!
26. Backup plan
Leave room in the budget for a backup plan, especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding!
Favors are pretty common in weddings, but it’s something that you might forget about until later on in the planning! The cost of these will completely depend on what you’re buying and how many, but they typically run about $3 to $8 per person.
If you’re looking to save money on these, look into DIY options or give a favor to each couple instead of each person. Or, omit favors altogether! They aren’t required and many guests won’t even notice. Besides, you are already giving them an expensive meal & drinks.
28. Final count
When you give the final count to your caterer, don’t forget to include yourselves! The bride and groom don’t get to eat for free (usually).
29. Day-of coordinator
While many couples choose to forego a wedding planner and plan the wedding themselves, you will likely end up realizing that you want some extra help on the day of the wedding. Factor this into your budget!
If you’re looking for coordination in the area, check out our sister company, Moore & Co. Event Stylists!
30. Additional decor
Flowers probably won’t be the only decor that you have at your wedding. You may want candles, specialty linens, lanterns, flatware, votives, whiskey barrels, a ceremony arch, etc.
Depending on how much decor you are looking to have, this could end up being a large chunk of your decor budget!
Many couples start out choosing to skip out on videography to save money. But, you may realize later on that you want it! Videography is a large expense. So, if you’re even slightly considering it, at least factor it into your budget!
You may or may not need to purchase sound systems. If you have a large ceremony space, or it’s outside, you may want to look into this so that people can actually hear you during the ceremony. There’s nothing worse than ending up in the back row and not even being able to hear you say your “I Do”‘s!
Don’t forget about reception lighting, too. This could include uplighting, which might end up around $1,000.
Also, if you’re in a hotel and are adding a lot of additional light, you might end up having a fee called a “power drop.” This is when the hotel will require additional power due to lots of specialty lighting or, say, a band performing.
Finally, don’t forget about all of the “other” stuff. We suggest budgeting about 10% of your budget to any last-minute unforeseen circumstances. These are things that are unlikely to happen, but are possible!
For example, say that your flower delivery team ends up stuck in a storm and you need to buy last-minute flowers locally. Or, the power goes out and you need to buy hundreds of candles.
Again, these things are unlikely to happen… but they could!
And those are all of the unexpected wedding costs on our list! Although these are the ones that we came up with, this may not be a comprehensive list. There might be other unexpected wedding costs… everyone’s wedding is different, so everyone’s costs will be different! Budget, budget, budget and you won’t end up with too many unexpected wedding costs.